Daylight Savings = Energy Savings?

Spring your clock ahead one hour this Sunday!

Benjamin Franklin once noted that by waking up earlier to make use of the morning sunlight, Parisians saved on candles. We see from this comment that the argument for Daylight Savings as it relates to energy consumption–most notably energy from lighting the home–began long ago.

When Bush signed into law a provision that would extend Daylight Saving Time by four weeks beginning in 2007, there were strong arguments for reduced energy consumption. It was estimated that we would possibly save 100,000 barrels of oil per day and enjoy a 1% decrease in energy consumption because people will turn interior and exterior lights on later in the day, thus saving electricity (or candles).

This sounded good to me, so I did not further study this claim. However, these folks did…

  • A statistical analysis by the California Energy Commission showed little or no energy savings.
  • Scientists from the University of California-Santa Barbara studied the state of Indiana’s energy consumption during Daylight Saving Time and noted an increase in usage.
  • And a UC-Berkeley study was also at odds with the energy-savings claim.
  • What can we conclude from these studies?
    Energy savings will rarely come from a provision in a law any President passes (especially former prez G.W. Bush). It is up to us to conserve energy in our homes, at our offices and schools. We can no longer take electricity for granted. It’s time to start scolding one another again for leaving lights on in an empty room. Our grandparents used to–I guess energy frugality skips a generation.

    …Oh, and stock up on candles.

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